Though Juan D. Martinez didn't get into the custom-vehicle scene by starting off with trucks, he ended up building a nice truck nevertheless.Before he was able to drive, Juan became interested in lowrider bicycles because he thought they were cool to look at and he related to the style. Once he got his driver's license, it was on to cars and then eventually trucks.
Juan got into bikes because he was captivated by the trick paintjobs he saw on some of the wilder ones. Knowing that he liked seeing slick paint, he opted to take a paint-and-body class in high school. His interest grew after taking that class, and after high school Juan went on to WyoTech to hone his skills and become a professional. The schooling paid off because he now works for Volkswagen/Audi. Still on the paint-and-body side, he now repairs new vehicles that get damaged during shipment.
In his spare time, Juan runs a custom shop called MKW, where he helps others build the vehicles of their dreams. This shop is also where he is able to put together his personal rides. His most recent custom truck is this clean '01 Ford F-150. Juan explains that he chose to build this truck because he liked the look of the four-door model and because there aren't many of them in the custom scene. He bought it new from the dealer and bolted a set of 20s to it when he got home. This was followed up with a 4/6 lowering kit.
After adding a few bolt-on parts like new taillights and Navigator door handles, Juan decided to go full-on with his project. Taking a different approach, he started by pulling out the entire interior to clean it up. He then took all the textured plastics and sanded them smooth. Later, they were painted in either factory white or DuPont Laser Red. Then, certain pieces of the dash and the console received Laser Red flames. With all of the interior paintwork complete, Juan called upon the help of Alfredo's Upholstery to stitch up some new covers for the factory seats, door-panel inserts, and the headliner.
As the truck began to take its new form, the height received some adjustment as well. Juan had Rocky Fox of Chaotic Rods & Customs lay the framerails of this large truck on the ground over a new set of 22s. For the front, the upper control-arm mount was spaced up 2-1/2 inches to minimize negative camber. Then, the front spring pocket on the frame was cut and a new airbag mounting plate was welded on.
To help get more travel out of the factory suspension, Rocky flipped the ball joints on the lower arms and flipped the tie rods to keep the alignment correct. The rear was a bit simpler with the addition of a custom-made two-link with a Panhard and a step notch in the frame with a bridge.
When it came time to finish the rest of the truck, Juan toned it down a bit to emphasize the immaculate interior. Instead of covering the whole body with a red flamejob, he only added graphics to the doors, hood, and the top of the rear bumper. To throw people off, Juan got ahold of the "Lobo" (Spanish for "wolf") emblems from the Mexican version of the truck. His father torched out the word Lobo from 1-inch-thick steel plate and had it chromed. Then, the big logo was mounted over the rear step notch.
Once completed, the truck turned out to be sort of a sleeper because it has more going on in the inside than on the body. It may seem kind of different, but that's what the scene is all about. Without people changing up styles every now and then, this whole thing would get rather boring. Nobody can tell you how to build your ride, so don't be afraid to try something new like Juan did.